Friday, December 18, 2009

My Paper Boat at Copenhagen
A selection of films were chosen by Millenium Arts to screen on their giant CO2 CUBE, these are being shown daily throughout the 2 week conference. They look amazing on the 8.2m x 8.2m x 8.2m cube that sits on the lake in the centre of Copenhagen a powerful visual representation of the size of a ton of carbon. read more...

Wednesday, December 02, 2009

Our 'Paper' Boat

My Paper Boat

Glad to know that ‘My Paper Boat’ is sailing successfully to some thinking minds propagating the message of global warming, climate change, drought & displacement. ‘My Paper Boat’ is a simple short film I did with my friends for a competition conducted as part of Copenhagen Climate Change Conference to be held in UK. All the world nations are expected to sign a treaty taking the vow to diminish the Carbon emission for a better future. Today we are quite proud to know that the film is selected as the best film for screening at Copenhagen to convey this message to an international crowd.

On behalf of our little cast and crew, I would like to thank the contest organizers, the judges, the sponsors and the viewers for accepting this video. Glad that it could reach to this rank. Yet, more than winning this competition, we are quite happy being a part of this event - rather this movement- reaching lot many like minded people, propagating a good cause in the simplest manner possible. As many of you commented, this might not make huge changes but we are sure that it can definitely trigger a thought for all thinking minds.

The video is hosted in the site

Through this video we are trying to present a possible state of displacement one might have to face in future because of changing climate. The whole scenario is visualized in a simple manner with the mannerisms of a child with his ‘Paper Boat’.

I remember my childhood in Kerala, with my sister and friends throwing paper boats in water during the monsoons. We used to be ready with the boats waiting for the rain to hit the ground. While doing a documentary film for NFSC, mentioned in my previous blog, I almost saw this kid in my mind. My friend Deepu Charles triggered the idea of Paper Boat and together we made the concept note. Later buddy Sachindev helped me find the boy ‘Arjun’ for the video. Kiran and Sachin helped me with whole process of shooting. Thanks to Susan and Rayson who helped us with the camera, so that we could finish the shoot in almost negligible budget.

My Paper Boat is the story of a little boy; we keep meeting somewhere or rather everywher e in the heart of India. He lost his play space due to the drought. He is now confused on where to leave his paper boat. So he is looking around for various means to make it move. For him, the hot sun is the villain who took off his comforts, but we know the reality. He is still on his search for an option. The protagonist here represents the displaced population due to global warming.
Interview with the crew

Please find below the news reports and blogs on this video.
In Television: Indiavision Channel
Publications: Press Clips

Monday, November 02, 2009

The sky unusually looked so red,
The air was like fire,

A fierce goddess entered the villages,

And killed the people with dis
So people remained in their homes,
And did not go outside, In this great famine,

ome died and some survived

Lines from ‘Durbhikshya Boli’ - a poem by poet Sri.Manohar Meher from Sinapali, who witnessed the seven famines of 1899.

This documentary film talks about one hundred years of drought and lore in the districts of Kalahandi and Naupada in Orissa and its impact on the lives of tribes - Gond and Bhunjia. Produced by National Folklore Support Centre (Chennai), in collaboration with Adibasi Sanskruti Gabesana Parishad (Orissa) as a part of Orissa Digital Community Archive Project. Funded by Ford Foundation.

Details of the film in NFSC site

Thanks to Mr. M.D. Muthukumaraswamy ( Director NFSC) for giving me this project and Mr. Mahendra Kumar Misra (ASGP) for helping me realize it.

I learned a lot while doing this film - Simple facts like, my life in Kerala and metros in India never told anything about India. As Gandhi said India’s heart is in her villages. In a way one can call India, a big village. Though the project started with the plan of representing the effect of drought in those regions, what I saw was - the tribes were not only suffered from the drought but they were even badly affected by landgravers and corrupted officials. They were displaced form their own land. Gonds shifted to Raipur, remains a living truth of displacement. Interviews with Mr. Ravi Das, Secretary (Kalahandi Vikas Parishad) also proved this fact.

As Amarthya Sen says in ‘Poverty and Famine’(1981)

“Starvation is the characteristic of some people not having enough food to eat. It is not the characteristic of there being no food to eat”

It was not cockroach in cocktail then... As this website id reads it was ‘centurs’. I wanted to call this film club ‘Centurs Creation’. That was 4 years back.

As Wikipedia says - Cen`taurs, a savage race living between Pelion and Ossa, in Thessaly, and conceived of at length by Pindar as half men and half horses, treated as embodying the relation between the spiritual and the animal in man and nature, in all of whom the animal prevails over the spiritual except in Chiron, who therefore figures as the trainer of the heroes of Greece; in the mythology they figure as the progeny of Centaurus, son of Ixion (q. v.) and the cloud, their mothers being mares.

I was always been fascinated by this mythical creature in my childhood, ever since the I first got introduced to Greek Mythology. My slates and books used to be filled with pictures of horses. Centurs can be identified as a good combination of Good and Evil, in other words those qualities we can truly call ‘purely human’. Anyways my intention is not to talk about Centurs here. I just want to share thoughts about a film I did immediately after college days.

After college days, I was in Kerala with Ad filmmaker Vinod A.K for three months. Since then he is my only Guru and the production house ‘Veye’ my second home. All that I did later in life, is what I learned from him.
Those days, I was really confused about the realization of a fiction though I was somehow comfortable crafting a factual film which we call by the name ‘documentary’. Due to some personal reasons I returned back to Chennai and joined a firm called Newmedia Television. It was then the plan of doing a short film came into mind. There were quite a few concepts, but I was so touched by one thought that flashed in mind which was about ‘My Mirror’. I shared it with friends Joseph Alex and Titty Joseph. Both were initially confused, but then got convinced by the storyline.
Anbu said that he would do the camera for us. Friends, Anjana and Soumya quickly accepted the roles I described them. Titty’s classmate Rahul joined as the Production Controller. He also found us the other few very important actors for the film. In fact, the whole process of Mirror was an imitation of what I saw at Veye Films. My intention was to say a powerful story and in that process learn how to do a fiction.

During the whole process we had our own complications. Camera was supposed to be a character, Mr. Mirror and there was a scene in which the protagonist needs to throw the mirror. Anbu tried a lot of ways to identify an appropriate solution, but finally the best was to actually throw the camera. I decided to do the protagonist and in that scene throw the cam to Anbu’s hands and later the other character Soumya would take it and keep it back in the tripod. With our adventurous cameraman, in just two takes, we finished that shot. As soon as I took the cam from tripod and walked, Anbu scrolled down quickly to the other corner and when I threw it he caught it and kept it steady down. In all the other scenes the camera remained
the most obedient actor, ‘My Mirror’. My special regards to Titty who gave different looks for the same room for each scene according to the changing time.

Even after all this, with the final film I realized one thing - it is not conveying anything that I wanted a My Mirror to say and I ended up having a BIG Complex. I even thought of not attempting anymore fictions in life. The mistakes were, doing the film in English, acting the protagonist myself, bad time management, one big mechanical error with camera etc etc. Hence I kept the film hidden in my DVD pouch for almost 3 years. A few months back my friend Sachin happened to see it and told me that he liked the whole concept and I must breathe some life into it. Thus this film happened again. A few weeks back I started re-writing and re-editing it. And today I am presenting you ‘My Mirror’ in a better shape, though I still accept that it still retain a lot of mistakes including me and my language. Kindly accept it as an amateur filmmaker’s first effort exploring the media of film. Thanks.

Warm regards,

Sunday, October 25, 2009

With the birds and butterflies...

Escaping from the load noises of crackers, a small group of guys from MCC, as part of a program by OSLE India went into the woods nearby Medavakam Kootu Road (Chennai) to explore and experience the company of birds, on this Diwali. I joined the journey because of my good friends Rayson, Susan and Sachin who belongs to the OSLE India team, and trust me it just became a memorable day in my life. What I have seen only in Animal Planet, (in fact that’s probably one among the very few channels I am in craze of) I experienced the same in the company of our own Steve Irvin, Hopeland from Zoology department Madras Christian College.

I always liked listening to the birds, in fact I had 2 pigeons and quite a few lovebirds at home back in Kerala. There used to be a cage in common for rabbits and love birds. But this time it was way different. Watching a being in its own habitat is quite a joy. They talks to you in the language of freedom. I guess my love birds might have also sounded different in their own habitat. At the forest we came across only a few rare specis, in fact other birds were familiar ones. But I don’t think I have ever watched or understood any of them this clear before…. even our very on Cookoo, Maina, Crow or Kingfisher. Hopeland clearly ‘re-introduced’ each of those species to all of us that each of them gained a different status in our minds. I and Sachin went around taking videos of all of them and the group while Hopeland took his breaks and kept explaining things. Whenever he heard a familiar or unfamiliar call of a bird he would stop immediately and get hold of his binoculars. What fascinated us was his knowledge of other beings too along with the birds. He knew every butterfly in the area and their mode of living. On the way he showed us an agonizing Skelton of a dog, but now it is the home of a colorful beetle. He came out and looked at his guests explaining silently the tyranny and irony of life.

I had a great time videographing a rare Brahminical Maina following it quietly keeping my slippers away, and of course the adventure in the pond further inside the forest. As soon as we reached the pond side, Hopeland asked us to be quite so that he can get an Owl in his binoculars. Sad... he was hiding somewhere. But yet the pond kept us happy with a vivid view. We saw a few water snakes and two rare species of Kingfishers. Hopeland was so excited watching the snakes and he said that he can try catching one and examine it close. In no time three of us went down to the pond. Hopeland was on one side of the pond and I was trying to focus my camera on him standing on the other side. Hearing our footsteps, quite a few frogs busy in their sun-bath did a quick plunge into the water… it was a great show. I slowly stepped into the water from one side and Hopeland from the opposite side. I guess the water at that side got disturbed and I saw a snake approaching me. It was really fast reached almost my legs. I got the shock of my life and tried to move out. I guess the sounds and the ripples made it equally scared. Sensing the presence of a foreign body, in few seconds it took a U-turn and went in a different direction. Meanwhile Hopeland’s leg caught in the mud which he finally struggled his way out and then cautioning me to carry a stick to identify the depth at each level. He tried his best to catch one snake. Guess the whole noise made them too cautious that they smartly hid themselves in the muddy bottom. So we too came out.

On the way back we saw few other birds and some interesting plants. Nirmal sir (English department, MCC) was guiding us in the whole trip, explaining each species and plant with their actual literature connection. He showed as ‘Kunni-mani’ seeds and said that even a few decades back people used it for weighing gold. Rayson kept recording the whole conversations on his phone and others made short notes. We entered the forest land around 8 AM and it took almost 3 hours to just make one small circle of excavation. All thanks to Hopeland who guided us and described the beauty of the bird's kingdom. Though, I don’t really remember the names of all the species he showed us, we are planning to make it a shot docu film with the details ...of course with the help of our own ‘Steve Irvin’.

Monday, September 28, 2009

An Unavoidable Disagreement
Just wanted to share a wild life documentary film by a very good friend of mine, Amit Mitra.
An Unavoidable Disagreement is a story of Snow Leopard’s relentless struggle - a struggle for existence in the face of human competition on one hand, and a struggle for its revival by the same human beings on the other. In a fortnight's journey to Ladakh, a cold desert in India, four members of Conservancy Efforts reveal some astonishing facts - of threats to these wild predators and also of efforts afoot to conserve the mystical snow leopards.Conservancy Efforts is a non-profit group of IT professionals from Bangalore, India, creating films to increase awareness for conservation of the wild.

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

On a Guerrilla Day :
Cockroach just got back from a 23 day video-shoot of Mahabharatham Festival at a village called Takolam in Vellore District, Tamil Nadu. On one of those tedious days a small shooting adventure took him back to some of those nostalgic days of his childhood. He was then a little boy with all the notorious monkey instincts. Memories of those days, hence, still remains as high as those trees at his ancestral house in the village, Avoli. There used to be 4 Nut-Mug (Jathi) trees which was our little cockroach's dream world. Except for the tall coconut trees, palm trees and two giant jack fruit trees there were hardly any tree in the place, he hasn't reached. Little cockroach used to look at the way 'Varky Chettan' (brother) climbed those coconut trees to pluck the coconuts for home. He used to take small breaks while climbing the coconut tree and then look down and smile at us. Little cockroach used to wonder how the world looked from such a height. He used to wonder how he would have felt when the tree swings as he climbs. “Huh I must be looking like an ant for Varky Chettan.”, smiled Cockroach.

Little cockroach also liked making bow and arrow. He used to make excellent bow with thin yet strong stems (his favourite was the stem of coffee plants) and the thread with the skin of plantain trees. After designing the weapons he would then act like the epic heros of Ramayana or Mahabharatha, realizing the bed-time stories of his grandpa. He also admired Tarzan for his jungle life on trees. Cockroach always tried to imitate tarzan climbing on all the four Nut-Mug trees with the bow and arrow hanging on his back and then shooting at his prey....the poor jack fruits, guava, or champa berrys used to be his target animals. Another game was to shoot arrows aiming at plantain leaves or even high at coconut leaves. Since the arrows used to get stuck on the leaf and hang down, cockroach could count their number and thus decide how good an archer he is. Nut-mug trees had another beauty. It was always been full of leaves that used to hide the 'Guerrilla' warrior from his beloved mother, who must be in search of him, with a long stick ready to paint his butt in black-blue colours.

Now you must be wondering why suddenly the big cockroach at Takolam village ended up thinking about little cockroach. On the last day of his project there, the big cockroach – after a long period of time - became the same Guerrilla worrier shooting from a tall tree.....the differences wasn't a Nut-Mug tree that time, but a temporary palm tree....He didn't have an arrow to shoot, but he did the same with a Panasonic NVGS Camera.

It was the last day of the Mahabharatham festival and there were 3 huge statues of the epic characters Duryodhana, Saliyar and Sakuni (in lying posture, made of sand) at the temple ground. Each of the statue were the size of a shuttle-court and there wasn't any camera angle on the ground or the nearby buildings that he could get a clear-full length frame for the final drama cum ritual. The ritual Therukoothu (folk drama) happens around these statues with the actor who play the role of Bhima finally hitting the thigh of Duryodhana statue, symbolizing the killing of the great villian of Mahabharatha. The total drama was supposed to happen for almost 2 hours and the whole area was been thickly crowded.

There was a temporary palm tree planted at the ground by the villagers for a similar Therukoothu play-ritual, Arjunan Davasu. The actor who played the role of Arjuna climbed on this tree and throw lemon from that height, symbolizing the incident of Mahabharatha where Arjuna does a penance to please Lord Siva and gain the divine arrow 'Paasupatha'. A look at the tree gave me the same instincts of Little Cockroach. But it was all covered with electric tubes, lights and wires. Thankfully there was an electrician boy Karthik who became a close friend. Cockroach quickly told him to cut all the wires and current connection to the plam tree. In no time Panasonic NVGS cam took the space of Bow and arrow on the back, and cockroach climbed the palm tree. It was tedious and a bit scary coz it was a temporary tree planted only for a day's drama. As he climbed the tree kept swinging in a 'melody'. Somehow cockroach reached the top and sat on the small platform made for Arjuna.

Finally, the little Cockroach saw what he wanted to see almost twenty years back. - Varky Chettan's 'world' from the Coconut tree. He finally experienced the same scary swing which Varky Chettan would have experienced sitting on top of the tree. Cockroach calmly stayed back for two hours on that cradle of palm tree doing his Guerrilla Shoot with his new age weapon. After two hours when he came down, Boss asked, "Where you been a toddy thief in Kerala?” :)

Sunday, August 30, 2009


It wasn't my first trip to Pondy, probably the second or third but surely the best of all. A German friend, Kerstin was there doing a one month course in Tamil language. After a talk on phone I decided to take the bus to Pondy on the same weekend to meet her. In both my previous visits I haven't had a chance to experience the beauty of the land. And for her, it was her first visit. We hence planned to roam around the city exploring the known and unknown. Now this post isn't anything about our journey, it's all about a little adventure I did coz I still experience the sound of waves so loud, clear and wild in my ears.

The day I reached Pondy, we both walked through the French area checking out the buildings and the main sea-side nearby, talking about her research work, my documentaries and so on. Almost half a day went in that and by evening we had a nice South-Indian dinner. Btwn, she is a pure vegetarian and loves true South-Indian flavors and dishes. At night around 10.30 I went back to the bus depot side to find a room to stay and she went back to her place. Almost all the lodges were booked and the only one available had a room till next day early morning 7.They gave it to me for a cheaper rate on the condition that I must leave early in the morning which was pretty much Okay for the Vagabond. I informed her that we would meet by 9 AM in the morning. Well Pondy without a beer is an utter nonsense as they say. So I grabbed one for the sake of Pondy, otherwise I don't think in past 4-5 years I ever drank to go off the mind but to celebrate a moment with close friends. I am equally not okay with 'washing a pain' with beer to rather facing it. Another reason for my love for a beer is that I enjoy food with it.

There were no chirping birds to wake me up. But I still woke up from an unknown world of dream at 5 AM listening to mobile alarm, had a quick bath…checked out from the lodge and went to the sea-side. Probably I was the only visitor so early there except for the routine joggers and some dogs. No sound from the roads and the streets…the sea was hence so loud. The wind and wave together played the sonata. The waters kept splashing on the hard rock with the great rhythm of hard rock. Some people may say it's of their pain but I felt it of their joy. Rocks, hence always clean by the touch of current sheltered many crabs black in color true to its habitat. On the same day at ‘Paradise Beach’, we found quite a lot crabs in the color of sand in the sand-bed. Golden rays of sun peeped out of the horizon galvanizing the paradise of human. The mood was truly meditative. I don't know how many of you actually enjoy life...are addicted to life...mad about of life...crazy and wild about I am, for these small-little reasons.

I walked through the sea-side up and down listening to the sonata and reached near a sea bridge...a bit was blocked…looked like a restricted area. It was not me and the joggers alone busy there. Found a lot of fisher man down under the bridge with their morning catch, fishes and squids of various sizes. Suddenly I remember a day while studying in MCC when we went for a 'Turtle Walk ' through the beaches of Chennai at night tracing turtle eggs to protect it from predators of dark. Early in the morning we were asked not to walk in front of the fishermen boats getting ready to sail for their hunt of survival because they consider it as a bad Oman. The fishing happens mostly ..early during the day-break. Well, that story of turtle walk is of the scope of yet another blog post. So I'm coming back to the saga on Pondy.

The sea-bridge was so tempting to climb. From that distance it looked so exciting…stretched towards the sea with the sea on all the three side. For a moment I dreamt of standing at the extreme end… or rather sitting there at the edge stretching my legs to the sea. They say, Sagittarians are a confused lot as they have a serious problem in finding any difference between dream and reality. Dad always keeps questioning me for this attitude. Well what to do dad, I'm born Sagi...'I dream' is 'my reality'. I looked around for means to climb the bridge and saw some fishermen walking through the walls of the bridge on which it stands so high in the sea. A second thought hardly have any scope…natural instincts only works well with me. In a few minutes I was there up climbing the walls...quite slippery with the waves hitting it hard reaching almost to the height which I was walking. Kept clicking photos at every step... The roaring sea was so notorious and I am no swimmer. Thankfully the notorious salt water have had already made the surface of the wall so hard giving me great grip. I had to look around now and then to see whether there were any coast guards around. Just walked through the walls to the extreme end and reached a block were it’s mentioned water is steep...Strictly No Entry. But there was a ladder on that side to climb on top of the bridge...Basic Instincts worked again…I intruded in to that space and climbed the ladder to the top of the bridge. It was so exciting to see an open bridge so wide for me to walk. I walked like a king to the tip of it.

I guess I stood there for an hour the sea breeze…listening to the sonata of sea. By then sun was out in his golden shades romancing with the waves leaving me irritated for another man's glance over the sea. Water kept glittering-swinging, so soft and rhythmic. For a moment I felt that the bridge is also swinging like a cradle leaving me quite sleepy. Kerstin's phone

call got me back to the world I belongs to and hence got up and walked back. Suddenly I realize that to get out of the bridge either I have to take the same risky way which I climbed or to walk out though the other end of the bridge where the securities are standing. I can get caught as an intruder. Kerstin must be I thought I take the normal way towards the security...though I had no clue how to handle them.

Thank Gods...for my surprise the gate opened and a few vans came in...a film crew with the generator van and accessories for shoot. I didn't think much but waited till the vans stop at one place and people get down. Once they got down I joined them and then towards the main gate...and from there straight to the security. There were two of them. Before they could say a word, I asked “Anna (brother in tamil), is there a tea kadai (shop) nearby…long journey...I'm so tired”, with all authority and attitude I could act. Their face changed and politely showed me the direction out to the tea shop. Before any further question, I walked out...and vanished somewhere in the French area.

Kerstin was on her way towards the seaside and we met in between and continued with our small-little expedition in Pondy.... :).......Cheers.

Monday, August 10, 2009

Panguni Uttiram

There is a saying in Kerala called ‘Aram Pattuka’ that means the incidents mentioned in the book can happen in author’s life. It is not that I believe it completely, but after doing a documentary film called ‘Not a Drop of Rain’ on drought in the districts of Kalahandi and Naupada in Orissa, I have faced serious shortage of water at home. Well, if the saying is still true…u can see me married soon. Because two days back I finished a documentary film on the festival of marriage of Gods…Panguni Uthiram. :)
I shot this festival on April 8th. Panguni Uthiram is an auspicious day in which the star Uttiram meets the Paurnami. (Full-moon day). According to the epics it is on this occasion that many of the divine marriages are celebrated. Well the details of the festival are uploaded in Wikipedia as my Field Report for National Folklore Support Center.

Before concluding this post I would like to to speak about what fascinated me in this shoot -the way which people responded for the interviews. I was so surprised in the beginning because everyone in Kanchipuram who participated in this fest talked like they are going for a wedding in their family. In fact Vanigar community members kept on saying that it’s their daughter’s wedding. A very personalized way of talk about the almighty…kept reminding me that GOD is in me, u and everyone. After attending the wedding ritual that went on for all night I too felt the same. I walked with Elavarkuzali Amman (Goddess Parvathy) during the whole event. After the whole function it truly made me feel it's my sister's marriage. A German scholar friend Kerstin who was with me all the time too said that she felt the same. The satisfaction I cannot explain in the work. It’s for everyone to experience being a part of it. I learnt a lot of new things with this documentary.

Friday, June 26, 2009

A Dusi Day - Last month I was in Dusi, a small village situated at a distance of ‘4 rupee bus fare’ from Kanchipuram to video archive the well known Tamil folk art form Therukoothu…a dance-drama-song-story telling art form. The event went on for 10 days…in fact 10 colorful nights. It gave me an exposure to quite a lot unexpected events that are, since then ‘archived’ as unforgettable-nostalgic experiences. Thinking about this, I can’t be but speak about the cold ghostly touch of a cyclone that left us stay the whole night without any light, soaked in rain at the ground of Drupadi Amman temple.

Like all the other days, my partner Sundar and I arrived at the temple around 7 pm with the camera, tripod and other equipments. Usually I have this weird way of carrying camera ‘just’ wrapped in a bathroom towel. My definition for this gentle act is that I have no time to unzip the camera bag, take it out and then put the battery- tape followed by an easy shoot. Carrying it in towel- fully loaded like a soldier’s gun- gives me all kind of flexibility with her - feeling her tight on my arms ready for action. Having said this I assure that I am not a camera person for planned actions but for a ‘hiding animal’ movement. May be I can fit for the role of a wildlife-news-sports cinematographer than a filmer. But on that specific day, for some strange reason I felt like carrying the cam in the bag itself. As Vinod sir once said, just follow self-intutions…it works for your good, in a way everyone’s.
It was the 6th night of Therukoothu. Koothu normally starts at 10-11pm and will continue to the next day morning 7-8 am. The ground is always crowded with village women and children; mostly grand moms with the tiny ones of family. Like every other Indian village art form, Theru koothu also happens during the summer time. It used to be the only source of entertainment for the village lot out of the dirty summer heat. During koothu we can find the entire village crowds present there as early as possible marking their own territory on the ground with mats or plastic sheets, finally ending up sleeping there enjoying the gentle breeze of the open space. For that weather it’s better to keep ourselves close to the sand in the ground coz that’s really ‘Kewl’.

Being in the village for 12 days made me realize a few things. My life in Kerala, and then in metro’s like Hyd, Chennai, Pune or Mumbai failed to teach me anything about India. Now I really do understand why Gandhi said that the heart of India beats in the villages. India is not a city – it is a big village. Every single person of Dusi have this Qn for you whether u r a known or unknown, “Sapitingala ?” ( Had food?). I heard the same Qn from each of them- one person repeating it as many number of times as possible and at almost any hour of the day when they see you. The people there live on bare minimums. I had 2 rupee tea and 1 rupee idly for first time. Capitalism is eating these places too. It was very obvious. U find all handsets and connections there but no toilets.

A cyclone and rain during the summer, was so unexpected. Suddenly it became so windy around 9 pm and Dusi (Dusi means Dust) started flying. Along with the Koothu artists, Sunder and I, got into a school building where the villagers provide us with a good dinner. For our bad luck the dust fell all over our body and the plates. The doors and windows started behaving so rude with the wind. If I have had taken an ariel shot of the whole place, I am sure, the school would’ve been like a huge insect waving it’s wings. The power went off and it became pitch dark. For a while we felt like there is an earth quake and the whole building is shaking. The ‘Koothu’ of the weather went on for half an hour. Finally Vayu (God of wind) gave way to Indra (God of rain and the King of all). The winds stopped and it started raining heavily.

The Therukoothu of the night got cancelled. We went back to the temple side and lied down on the floor. Late night, when the rain stopped for a while, villagers started with a few interesting rituals. Leaving Sundar back to take care of equipments, I got into one of the bullock carts with the camera. Naughty Indra, after his Kit-kat break, continued to shower ‘blessings’ soaking my camera. The only solution was to continue shooting, covering her with my T-shirt. So did I, in no time removed my t-shirt and covered the cam keeping it's mouth alone exposed for shoot. Well, i guess being a male has one such advantage. :)

I saw the first animal sacrifice in my life and people getting processed and all. Came back half naked, fully drenched with camera half covered with the t-shirt. T-shirt tricks always worked well with me. Just thought of a similar experience happened while studying in Madras Christian College. While editing a college project at MRC editing suit, the cooler started leaking. (There was no AC then, I guess a cooler was hired). It was late at night 2 or 3am and I was all alone. The water spread all over and I was doubtful whether it will spoil the equipments. Guess what, the editor was found on the floor wiping the whole editing suit with t-shirt.

Well, leaving all that...a lot is there to speak about the village Dusi, probably I must retire from everything on day and scribble these memories.

Thursday, June 11, 2009

Folk On
Guess, its been quite some time since I could pen a blog. In fact in past few months I guess I have had more than what I expected to write on and to share with you. Lots of travel and lots of new experiences... New vision on life and new enthusiasm. Like the book I am reading now - a Malayalam translated version of Pablo Nerudas Autobiography – the life is playing a true zig-zag game. But for some crazy reason the time and space is so blocked somewhere -somehow on the run to conquer certain other destiny. I hope, soon I can manage to get some time to shed the cocoon of my reality and scribble a few words of fantasy and facts.
For time being, I am sharing you a few interesting videos I could shoot-edit and present. It is a collection of 11 songs - the event coverage of a music concert we (NFSC- conducted recently. Far from the illusions of Page 3 music and gimmicks and gymnastics on stage, this was something really special -true to real life. NFSC and Musician Oliver Rajamani joined together to conduct this event at a Narikkuruva (A Gypsy Community) Settlement at Villupuram in Tamil Nadu. The charm of the whole event was the hospitality and participation of Narikkuruva Men-Women-Children. Oliver played so many Gypsy instruments like Ud (Arabic), Setar (Irani), Rabab (Afghanai), Guitar (European) as well as our very own Sarod. Accompanied by his band members on various other instruments from different parts of the world. The songs were mainly folk songs in different languages with the touch of fusion. A good example is a Tamil folksong sung in Texas Style on the Irani instrument Setar.
It was so touching to see people offering chains made of beads to the Band members as a token of love. Even I have something special to remember for this life time - When we were about to leave a young Narikkuruva mother called me and put a chain around my neck. The link to access these videos are given below.

Tuesday, April 14, 2009

Chords of Life
Sometimes there is no music in music, except for a passion. I must say that this film is developed from a fear I have, of losing control over my body. Here my protagonist is inspired by his father's music, rather his passion in spite of parkinson's disease that keeps him away from his passion. There is silence in music...that makes the music. In fact, I strongly believe that music is a collection of notes placed over silence. The same way for me, film is nothing but a collection of visuals placed over a dark, blank space.

I use to close my eyes and sit silent imagining myself standing in the shoes of a blind man. May be that is the worst fear I can ever have. There is always a thought lurking in mind- what if one day the whole world become an alien land for me where things and places seems yet to be discovered. What if my favorite colors say adieu to my vision. !!! What if one day the darkness of a movie hall moves on to the screen too...IThis fear gave me some good short film characters who remained blind. I am blamed of brewing such characters in most of the short films. I guess my addiction to nature naturally leaves me scared of such a situation.

“Chords of life” is a short film developed on a similar fear but not about losing vision...but on an inability to control body. It's about Parkinson's disease. I use to think what if one day I end up being in such a state that I’m unable to hold a camera or focus my eyes on something. Well, I’m sure that would never be the full stop of my story. But definitely there can a pain on the inability to retain an admired art. “Chords of life” is a film about the passion of a guitarist for his instrument. It’s about two generations. It’s about inspiration. It’s about all of these.
Though I wouldn’t mind watching a hopeless end in film, I can’t think of doing such a genre. I would rather leave a spark for survival. Here the spark is passed from one generation to the next. Here we see the son getting inspired.

Thanks to Satchin, Sachin, Agnetha, Nithya and Alan who helped me in realizing this film. It was wonderful working with u guys. I strongly believe that Satchin's music made a big difference coz unlike any of my previous short films music plays the lead here. It's always fun to work with amateur talents. I'm sure that this is the first time Sachin as well as my cousin Raghul who did the videography, actually touched a camera. Agnetha is new to acting and for Satchin, this is his very first music composition. I guess with this film once again I'm glad to prove that amateur mindset work wonders.

Thanks again.
Warm regards,

Friday, March 06, 2009

Fountain Pen

Years back:

He is a little boy. He is studying in 7th standard and is of the size and figure of a small Rat. Occasion is t
he routine school assembly. The ground is filled with children from 5th to 10th standard, creatively and neatly shaped in numerous rows and columns of good proportion by George sir, known most popular as PT (Physical Training) sir and understood as High school Hitler. All eyes are on the podium where headmaster Rev. Fr. Jose Karivelikkal is announcing the prizes for handwriting competition.

It was Little Rat who got this most coveted prize a year back which he proudly keeps pinned on his pocket since then, like the badge of a soldier. Naturally he is looking pretty excited about the day. He came from home, all set to walk on to the stage. Even dreamt of it the previous night and that is quite obvious from his eyes.

Rat gave a quick glance to the back row of girls to make sure that his latest lady love is there. Ironically this MAN is standing 3rd from the first of boy’s row while his WOMAN is 3rd from the last of girl’s row. Well, “NO ONE” is bothered about height these days. Only the Rat KNEW it…as long as she is always keen on giving her classic smile before getting into the school bus every evening.

There is pin drop silence at the ground. The noise in air is of the road…of the crazy cars, private buses and auto ricks. That is quite a noise. There are definitely a lot of bystanders at the road, curiously peeping though the grills of the wall surrounding the ground from the notorious world outside, just to have a glance of their own childhood. In fact, rat knows a few of those jobless faces very well coz he was always been a keen practitioner of the great principle - learn from the world around and not from the book. Though Hitler never let his eyes wander much, he failed miserably in caging his ears. So normally, Rat knew ways to roam on the road during the assembly using his ear. BUT, Definitely NOT TODAY.

He is the most disciplined boy on the ground today. Except for a mild distraction of his lady love, he has full control on his eye and ear…Eyes on a gift pack and ears on, only on, the load speaker.

Finally…………… …………………………………………. a big DISAPPONTMENT

“The world is sinking…The sun is really HOT…the assembly is taking too LONG. Headmaster is talking too much… Hitler is behaving too strict…Road seems too NOISY…What a HEADACHE…She is smiling at the guy who is taking the gift….UFF” In a single second so many new discoveries…….HATS off to RAT.

The assembly is over. Like all other rats, RAT is pretty curious to see the gift pack open. He is obviously struggling to resist his inner call and irritation. The row is now walking back to the class and suddenly the winner opened the gift pack for his friends………..A BALL PEN…Ha ha ha.Oh my God it’s a BALL PEN.

Guess what………The world is normal now. The Sunlight is really soothing. Assembly was fine. Headmaster is nice. Hitler is not following us. Road is calm. Headache is gone. The girl’s row is walking beside and she is smiling and bright.
RAT is happy smiling …………He took the last year’s “badge” pinned on his pocket.


Rat is a grown up Man…others might not accept it…but he definitely will. Today morning, on his way to office Rat saw a shop and a few fountain pens. He couldn’t resist the tempation. He quickly got in...purchased a grey one and a blue ink bottle. Now he is writing his blog with his hands full of ink. His mind is full of those Fountain Pens he left for Ball Pens…Those beautiful things he left in life in the names of conveniences…those slow melodious rhythm of life lost for so called fast and instants…

Saturday, February 14, 2009

Feb 14, 2009 - My 26th Valentines Day thus “passed away”, without much noise leaving me yet, young and yellow. I was handsomely idle at home hooked on one of the old Malayalam books... rather a research material identified recently for a film script that I may or may not realize in this wild-weird-warm lifetime. True to my senses, I have clearly no idea whether I would ever be mature enough to live anyway close to the norms and notions of this day of young excitement. But on this occasion I can’t be just mute on a woman who moved me the most till this date. She is “Yesterday”, a simple African village woman who breathes only for the good of her family. I was never been lucky enough to travel to that country side and see this lady who speaks only her mother tongue Zulu. She suffer from AIDs and lives a simple life with her daughter. I was touched more by her simplicity, her understanding of herself, her way of living the day – today - with the dreams of tomorrow and her disinterest for words of praise. When her mine worker husband came back to the village as a skinny soul during the last stages of AIDs, the village threw him away. Yesterday, as a brave woman built a shed away from the village all by herself and took her husband there where he died happily breathing her warmth. I calls her brave and that teacher from the village too.........but not “Yesterday”. The teacher said “Yesterday, you are a strong lady.” And she replied “No I’m not, I had no other choice. Life has to go on.” She taught me the lesson to live life in a simple and natural way without any expectations. She taught me to behave to the situation. Months after the doctor first diagnosed her ailment, AIDS, she continued to live as a strong woman. The White Lady Doctor had to say this “Yesterday, your body is so strong.” She just smiled and pointed her finger to the head and said, “No it’s all here. I’m not prepared to die until my child go to school.” That moment taught me peace of mind. For a moment I felt as if I’m meditating on a mountain inhaling courage and love. Yesterday is strong, stubborn, silent, soulful and straight forward. For the first time I bowed to a woman... God, she was a "REAL WOMAN". Anyways, I have no other way but to get out of this unrealistic world of cinema and live a normal life. I have no other choice but to identify her as just a movie character. Even if I collect so much money for my travel to African sub-continent, I wouldn't be able to fulfill the dream of seeing this woman. Because she lives in my most favorite film, "Yesterday". A few days back my Amma (mom) asked, “Who do you think you are in love with?” Confused was she as I have this weird habit of making contradictory statements to irritate her. It’s fun to fight with Amma for no reason. ;) I didn’t answer, but left her see the film “Yesterday.”
Later I told her, “Amma, I don’t expect any girl to be 100% Yesterday, but I need her to be at least 1% her. I swear I will be 100% Guido (The funny Italian waiter in the film "Life is Beautiful") for her.......till the end of my life.”